Writer’s Note: The Belle Plaine Herald and Henderson Independent published a COVID-19 update online last week with the full weekly comparison. This week’s article is comparing numbers from the online update on Nov. 23. At that time, Minnesota had added 45,482 new cases and had 276,500 total cases.

Minnesota continues to hold stable with big increases in new COVID-19 cases. The state added 42,263 new cases in the past week, which is a drop of about 3,219 cases from the previous week.

Deaths are also holding steady, with 328 fatalities from the disease in the past week. Although that is 20 less from the previous week, Minnesota set a new deadly high on Friday, Nov. 27, when 101 new deaths were reported. The previous record was 72 deaths that were reported on Nov. 19 and Nov. 25.

Cases in Schools

Hilltop Elementary School was added to the list of schools experiencing at outbreak on Monday, Nov. 23. At the time, Hilltop was the only school in Sibley County affected. However, that is no longer the case and Sibley East Elementary in Gaylord, GFW Elementary in Gibbon, and GFW Junior-Senior High in Winthrop have all been listed as experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19.

Tri-City United High School in Montgomery is also affected in Le Sueur County. In Scott County, Prior Lake High School and Shakopee Area Catholic School have reported outbreaks.

Schools are listed if they have reported five or more confirmed COVID-19 cases in students or staff in the building while infectious during a two-week period.

Cases in Tri-County Area

• Scott County added 1,041 cases in the past week, bringing its total to 8,677. Scott County added one new death in the past week to bring its total to 54. According to Scott County Public Health, Belle Plaine added 61 cases in the past week to bring its total to 534 cases.

• If there is a silver lining, it is that new cases in Sibley County saw a 50 percent decline. The county added 88 new cases in the past week, bringing its total to 790. That is a sharp drop from the 191 new cases that were added between Nov. 16-23. The county did not report any new deaths and is holding at four.

According to the Star Tribune’s COVID-19 tracker data, Henderson’s zip code added 13 new cases in the past week to bring its total to 111. Gaylord has reported 211 cases (increase of 47), Arlington has 151, (an increase of 21), Green Isle has 75 (an increase of 27), Winthrop has 99 (increase of 40), Gibbon has 79 (an increase of 8), and New Auburn has 13 (no increase).

• Le Sueur County added 165 new cases in the past week, bringing its total to 1,475 cases. While that is a 30 percent decline in new cases from the previous week, the county also reported two new deaths, bringing its total to 11. According to the Star Tribune’s COVID-19 tracker data, the city of Le Sueur added 69 new cases in the past week, bringing its total to 351 cases.

Le Sueur County’s 14-day case rate, on the other hand, continues to reach new heights. The most recent data, which reflects the time period from Nov. 1-14, has the county’s case rate at 142.23. This is almost triple the rate that would necessitate distance learning for students at Le Sueur-Henderson.

State Overview

The state conducted 425,502 tests in the past week, bringing its total to 4,262,806 tests on approximately 2,529,673 people.

To date, COVID-19 has claimed the lives of 3,593 Minnesotans. Of the 328 deaths that occurred in the past week, 190 (57.9 percent) occurred in long-term or assisted living facilities. To date, 2,413 deaths, or 67.1 percent, have been in long-term care or assisted living facilities. At the same time, there have been 11,386 cases in those facilities (a one-week increase of 1,302), which is 3.6 percent of all cases statewide.

Of Minnesota’s total 318,763 cases, 22,947 (an increase of 2,309) have been in health care workers and 272,608 (85.5 percent) no longer need isolation. In the past week, 1,685 people have been hospitalized, bringing the cumulative total to 16,791 since the pandemic started. The state also reported 299 patients needing ICU hospitalization, bringing the cumulative total to 3,779.

Cases in Congregate Care

A number of congregate care facilities in the area have reported COVID-19 exposure in the last 28 days. Exposure is defined as a person diagnosed with COVID-19 who visited, worked, or lived at the facility while contagious.

• Scott County added two new facilities in the past week. Affected facilities include The Gardens at St. Gertrudes (new), The Lutheran Home in Belle Plaine (new), Kingsway Retirement Living, Shakopee Friendship Manor, Savage Senior Living, Emerald Crest Shakopee, New Perspective Prior Lake, All Saints Senior Living, Mala Strana Care and Rehab Center, McKenna Crossing and St. Gertrude’s Health and Rehabilitation Center.

• Sibley County added two facilities in the past week. Affected facilities include Good Samaritan Society Fairview (new), Good Samaritan Society Winthrop (new), Oak Terrace in Gaylord, Good Samaritan Society Arlington, Oak Terrace Health Care Center and South View Living Center.

• Le Sueur County added one facility in the past week. Affected facilities include Traditions of Montgomery (new), Central Health Care, Ridgeview Le Sueur Nursing and Rehab Center, and Praha Village in New Prague.

Cases by Age Groups

Demographics for deaths compared to total number of cases is as follows:

• Age 100+: 63 deaths (an increase of 6); 181 total cases (increase of 28)

• Ages 90-99: 898 deaths (an increase of 76); 3,759 cases (increase of 509)

• Ages 80-89: 1,252 deaths (an increase of 121); 9,188 cases (increase of 1,209)

• Ages 70-79: 738 deaths (an increase of 78); 16,123 cases (increase of 2,449)

• Ages 60-69: 398 deaths (an increase of 37); 31,139 cases (increase of 4,630)

• Ages 50-59: 165 deaths (an increase of 7); 45,704 cases (increase of 6,278)

• Ages 40-49: 48 deaths (an increase of 1); 46,152 cases (increase of 6,227)

• Ages 30-39: 24 deaths (an increase of 1); 52,418 cases (increase of 6,765)

• Ages 20-29: 6 deaths (an increase of 1); 63,323 cases (increase of 7,103)

• Ages 5-19: No deaths reported; 44,735 cases (increase of 6,249)

• Ages 0-4: 1 death (no increase); 5,986 cases (increase of 817).

Top Ten Counties in MN

1. Hennepin: 66,251 (+8,040)

2. Ramsey: 27,569 (+3,136)

3. Dakota: 22,018 (+3,104)

4. Anoka: 21,488 (+2,607)

5. Washington: 13,878 (+1,589)

6. Stearns: 13,643 (+1,660)

7. St. Louis County: 8,777 (+1,507, up from 8th)

8. Scott: 8,677 (+1,031, down from 7th)

9. Wright: 7,631 (+1,183)

10. Olmsted: 6,801 (+705)

Scott County fell a slot this week, dropping to the eighth most populous county in the state for COVID-19 cases. It was surpassed by St. Louis County, which has seen rising cases since it joined the Top 10 list nine weeks ago. St. Louis County broke into the Top 10 on Oct. 7, coming in at #10 with 1,956 cases. While it averaged 339 new cases per week in October, its average tripled in November, with 1,063 new cases per week.

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